Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Quality snacking, quality time and Quality Street

I've forgotten how to do anything other than snack... I'm grazing like a lame horse with my feet up on the table about to watch Enchanted, even though I'm 28 and there are no children in the house...

This is what my Christmas Day looked like:

Just Mr and Mrs Baxter chilling out and enjoying each other's company seeing as I'm flying off to Kenya without him in two weeks time. Yep, two weeks. That is going to be one AWFUL goodbye. I'm so bad at goodbyes.

However, it's onlyfor a month and then he's flying out to Kenya and we're going to have an African adventure together. I'd like to rent some cottage right on the beach when he gets there and just CHILL OUT and enjoy spending QUALITY time with each other.

You can live with someone and not see them for the majority of the working day, then you get home and you're too tired to do anything other than SIT. That's not living, that's existing. No fun. There's an element of normality that is unavoidable, but who's writing the rules here?

I'm high on cheese and Cool Original Doritos anyway, ignore me. I'm going to go and listen to my new Queen CD.

More Kenya stories to follow... stay tuned!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Mexico: A photo blog mainly.

I met my lovely friend Claire (hello Claire!) the other night and enjoyed an evening of Wagamama and carol singing at a carol concert (fast turning into a yearly ritual) and she mentioned she is going to Mexico next year, so I thought I'd have a dig through my photo album from our Mexican honeymoon :) I like going back through photos. And putting them on my blog.

Clearly our budget did not stretch to First Class tickets...
Mexican sunset. Kind of similar to other sunsets.

Take a day trip to Isla Mujeres

Claire - have an amazing trip! Can I come too????

In conclusion: Mexico has amazing beaches. There are a lot of Americans there who like to keep hold of rafts that belong in the swimming pool when they're not even in the swimming pool but luckily that didn't bother me. Oh and there are stingrays in the sea. Oh and Mexican food is amazing.

Friday, 14 December 2012


Capital letter alert! That must mean it's good!

So, following on from my last post about things not to bother doing in Zanzibar I thought I'd better bring the beat back with a positive post about things you really need to do while in Zanzibar.

Without further adooooooo:

Beach party at Kendwa Rocks
Nungwi is the most stunning place I've ever been to (sorry Mexico, I still love you!) and I fell head over heels with the laid back pace of life and stunning coastline there. I mean come on, if you don't love this, you must be made of STONE:

Arrghhh I want to be back there!

Anyway. It seemed the perfect end to our trip to wind up spending our last night at Kendwa Rocks. It's a huge thatched club which gets absolutely boiling, so don't do what I did and wear a dress that shows up sweat or you'll quickly have a REALLY SEXY sweat mark ALL down your back. Two tone dress perhaps? No, that's all sweat. Mine. Don't touch me.

I would LOVE to be there on New Years Eve one time. Or any night really. Get yourself there, I think you have to pay to get in if you're not a guest at the hotel but it's worth it.

Drink chai on a rooftop
Stone Town is fascinating. It's about 30 degrees hotter than I can tolerate, and I pretty much got through all my clothes in the few days we were there, but I appreciated it. I appreciated it the most when sat on a comfy seat on a rooftop in the shade with a sea breeze cooling me down. Our hotel (can't remember the name) had a cool little rooftop and I very much enjoyed drinking chai and chatting absolute rubbish until it was time to go and watch the sunset at...

Sunset at Africa House
If you go to Zanzibar and I find out that you didn't watch the sun go down while sipping a cold beer at Africa House Hotel, I WILL COME AND FIND YOU.

It kind of feels like being at the Cafe del Mar in Ibiza but only inasmuch as that's another place you can go and watch the sunset over the sea. Ha.

Street Food Market
Confession: I didn't go to the food market because I was really busy (READ: getting drunk) but you should. Others did and while I don't regret not going, I wish I had more time to go myself. But you go, go on, go now. HURRY!

Wander Stone Town
Now this is something I did do. I'm good at wandering. The streets in Stone Town are fascinating and while some do feel a bit touristy for my liking, they snake around for ever and it's quite easy to get your bearings again when you need them. Just keep an eye out for landmarks.

But some are even smaller and really narrow so it is LOVELY AND SHADY. Still hot though.

In conclusion: Zanzibar is hot and there is plenty to do. Enjoy yourself.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Things not to bother doing whilst visiting Zanzibar

Zanzibar fans... hello! I am a fan also!

I'm heading back to Kenya in a month, and I think it would be downright rude of me not to pay a visit to Zanzibar again seeing as I'll be SO close - hey neighbour! I'm feeling nostalgic and I just finished up the last of my chilli powder that I bought in Zanzibar, so I thought this an appropriate time to revisit this beautiful place in my head and on my blog.

Oh for Goodness sake, look how amazing it is:

The Z Hotel, we didn't stay there :)
I visited Zanzibar last year as part of an Exodus trip and it gave me just enough time to dig into the surface, climb in and fall in love with the place. I want to go back quite desperately.

But when I do go back, there are things I won't do and these are just my opinion, but these are things to miss out in Zanzibar:

1. Doing a spice tour
"GASP! But everyone else is telling me to do a spice tour!!" Yeah well I'm not. To tell you the truth, I haven't spent a whole lot of my life wondering WHERE spices come from. They come from the supermarket shelf in a handy A-Z order so you know exactly where to find them. There was no way I was going to use the precious time I had to do a spice tour. Life's too short for spice tours.. in my opinion!

When the sun is beating down on you (it is swelteringly hot in Zanzibar by the way) and you have the choice to follow a REALLY boring man around and make lipstick out of plants and gaze at lots of things you don't really understand about... OR you could wander round Zanzibar at your own pace and stop off at a little beachside bar for a cheeky beer or two - no contest for me.

2. Buying spices at the market
ARGGGH what is it with the spices??! NO I DON'T WANT TO BUY ANY CINNAMON. You know what? I fell for that classic tourist trap. On the second day in Stone Town, everyone I met said 'oh have you bought any spices yet?' and I was like 'No but I got myself a few Kilimanjaro beers and a Tusker beer or two (no contest, Tusker forever) I started to doubt myself.

'Do I need cinnamon? Everyone ELSE has cinnamon - and they know where it comes from...'

*shiver* maybe I should go and get some cinnamon from a market before we move in incase I regret it forever...?

BIG MISTAKE. Most streets in Stone Town are as wide as this:

Plus, they're pretty hot (it's quite a hot place, did I mention that?) and they're crowded too, so when a random man says he'll show you the way and you insist that you're fine and that you would prefer to not be accompanied and he follows you the whole way and you're about to punch him when he shows you to his brother's stall who will sell you some cinnamon at a very good price because you speak some Swahili and you look like you're about to punch them and then they try and sell you some vanilla pods, chilli powder and saffron too at a very good price and you walk away but then think 'Shit, I'll just buy it, Christmas presents' then carry a heavy bag of spices that won't fit in your rucksack and burst leaving saffron all over everything (it stains)...

...well then just go to the bloody supermarket, buy a pretty tin for it and just say you got it from Zanzibar anyway.

3. Argue with the beach boys
The beaches of the north coast of Zanzibar are the prettiest I've seen with the bluest water. The beach boys there are the toughest, most persistent and charming I've encountered. There are LOADS of them as well selling the same conveyor belt of things you don't need: Tours, watches, sunglasses, tours, watches, sungl...... on it goes.

It's my last day in Zanzibar, I have no need for a watch and I'm already wearing sunglasses... However, after a while of getting annoyed realised it wasn't going to change, so you just chill out and have a laugh at the situation, they have a job to do and a living to make afterall. Plus, it's a good opportunity to try out your haggling skills.

Zanzi Chic
In conclusion, cinnamon is cinnamon no matter where you buy it from and Zanzibar is super duper hot.

Take a peek here for things you MUST do in Zanzibar, - see you there!

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Marina Grande - Sorrento: Put it on your list

During a four day trip to Sorrento back in October, we strolled (you do stroll on holiday don't you? You don't tend to stroll so much back home...) down to Marina Grande and I fell in love with Sorrento that little bit more when I saw how cute it was:

All views should be like this.

It's only tiny and it does lose the sun quite early in the day, but it's so cute and so authentic and so darn ITALIAN that I felt like I was in a movie set. So many places are so spoilt by us tourists that you lose the feel and the vibe of a place in the desperation to make us feel at home (WHY THESE PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR HOME COUNTRY IN THE FIRST PLACE IS BEYOND ME) Sorry, I've ruined the vibe of this page now...

Plus, I saw at least fifteen cats sunbathing on moored boats, so that had to help. I love cats.

There's a cat on every boat in this picture - trust me.

Here kitty kitty, jump in my handbag
It's quite a climb back up to the town, but it's worth it the sweat. I could have spent days just loitering around here, hanging around with the old ladies selling doilies and watching the fishermen.

In conclusion: Sorrento is pretty and Marina Grande is pretty awesome with a steep climb involved. If you like film sets, you'll like this place a lot.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Leaving my comfort zone

So yeah, I've kind of quit my job.

And I'm moving to Kenya.

But I don't really have a plan to show you.

That's scary.

I just decided that I'd had enough of telling everyone else to get out there and make the most of life when I wasn't really doing that myself for 8 hours a day every weekday. When you work in travel, you're SURROUNDED by other people telling you what their amazing plans are, and I'm like 'Oh yay that's amazing you'll have the best time' but inside I'm having the biggest tantrum thinking 'BUT I WANT TO GO THERE' - and then I realise that I CAN.

Don't get me wrong, I like my job but jobs will still be there next year, and for THE REST OF MY LIFE. It's too easy to get scared of what's out there and talk yourself into staying put. Now is the time to get out there and have some adventures.

Before I grow roots.

While I have the chance.

While I have my health.

And looks. Shah.

I'd hate to look back and see this as my window of opportunity and know that I didn't take the chance to get out there when I could.

So yep. I'm moving to Kenya on December 28th and I'll see what happens from there. Come on Universe, give me everything you've got.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Why I'll never be as glam as Italians...

I recently had the good fortune to visit Sorrento in Italy, and it was my first visit to Italy, like ever.

Beautiful, no?

I only had four days there, but it gave me enough time to realise a few things:

  • I f*cking love pizza. I didn't see this coming because I'm not really a pizza fan
  • I hate England. No, actual hate. It might be beautiful in places, but it's still depressing
  • I will never be as glam as Italians
Now, I generally don't use the word cool to sum myself up, nor would anyone that knows me. I generally get 'quirky' or 'funny' OR LOUD (Deal With It) which works for me. If I'm wearing my brogues, I might even be called 'cute' but not cool.

Here's why I'll never be as cool as Italians:

1. I don't speak Italiano
Oh heck, Italian is such a cool language. Even if it's limited to just being spoken in Italy, I could sit and listen to two Italians chatting all day. Hell I don't even think they use punctuation! That would just slow it all down.

2. I don't smoke
I know it's not cool not to smoke but I don't smoke. If I was a glam Italian girl, I'd be able to pull a cigarette out of the packet with my teeth, light it effortlessly (whilst having dangerously shiny hair) and I'd be able to breathe the smoke out of my nostrils while chatting a mile a minute in Italian.

3. I don't own a Vespa or anything with a motor
Two wheels good, two feet bad. I can't describe the feeling you get when a glam Italian girl whizzes past you on her scooter laughing away to her friend on the back. It's probably the most inadequate you'll ever feel! When they're walking down the road with their helmets on, don't you dare laugh... they STILL look cool. Help.

4. If I did own a scooter, I'd have Helmet Hair
Yep. My hair hates me. It likes to mould itself to anything, so if I happen to tuck a bit behind my ear, when untucked it keeps the shape of my ear. I don't even want to think what would happen if I wore a helmet in the hot sun... Sheesh.

5. Talking of hair...
While we're on the subject of hair, I noticed during my trip how sleek everyone's hair seemed to be. My hair has never once been called sleek, the closest it's been called is SLICK man, yeah. Slick.

In conclusion: I will never be as glam as Italian women and would look stupid wearing a helmet.

So there we are. Pretty sure there are more reasons but that'll do for now. Gotta keep the self-esteem in some kind of check. Rule Brittania. Where are my brogues?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

An Italian Confession.

I've just got back from a long weekend in Italy. Yah. Sorrento, bless you.

For those of you uneducated berks, here is Sorrento in all it's glory:


Let me tell you something you probably don't know about me. Before my trip to Italy, I'd never once finished an entire pizza to myself. That's right, you heard me. Now back off!

Never. Not even when I'd had a skinful and thought that a £2.50 pizza from the local takeaway was a religion. My lack of ability to gorge consume always meant one good thing though...

Pizza for breakfast.

Let me tell you something that will now shock you to your very core now you know that about me...

In Italy, I ate two whole pizzas in one day.

Gulp. I know, I'm surprised you didn't hear about it on the news already.



Never has the rule, and it is a rule 'when in Rome' applied with more severity and seriousness.

If I may, your honour, I will just say that pizza in Italy is like no pizza I've ever had before. The dough is so much lighter, so it's devious because you don't feel that dodgy-stodgy-kill-me-now-hand-me-the-elasticated-waistband-trousers feeling with them. Those cheeky Italians know EXACTLY what they're doing when they knead that heavenly dough. I had serious cheese related nightmares that night, one that involved Danny from The Script chasing me. Dear God.

Plus, I was helping the local economy which I understand is in a right shitstate at the moment.

The moral of todays story? Go to Italy, eat pizza and you'll help the local economy.


Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Recently I've been thinking about happiness. It's quite disconcerting when you're just going about your daily life and something stops you in your tracks and you realise that you could be So. Much. Happier.

And the silly thing is that YOU are in control of your happiness levels. Everything that makes you unhappy can be changed.

Unhappy with your job? Change it

Unhappy with your house? Move!

Unhappy in your relationship? Guess what? There are people out there who WANT to be with you. Don't you DARE make yourself miserable waiting.

Life is too short.

It's your life.

There are people out in the world without the means to change their situation, you're not one of them. You want to know why I know that?

You're reading this on a COMPUTER OR A SMART PHONE. So you're light years ahead of some other people out there who would dearly love change but cannot reach it.

I'm making a change. More to follow on that...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Has the world gone mad?

I just saw this picture on The Sartorialist (guilty pleasure alert!) and HAD to share it. Dahhhhlingg.


I quite want one though. But in purple.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

I don't have a problem

Just realised that the last few blog posts from me involve wine. I'm fine by the way, I don't have a problem, I don't need to see anyone.

Thanks for the concern though! Hic!

I'm in Wales!

Right now I'm in the beautiful village of Llangollen. Or is it a town? I don't know. I don't care.

You want to know why I don't care? Because this is my view right now:

Yep. Pretty content.

I'm in my safe house. I've been coming here since I was 12 (on my 12th birthday actually, fact fans) and this is the place I feel content. Well... if I can't leave the country then this is my favourite place ever.

Here's a few pictures from today before I tuck in to some wine and cheese.

And that's all for now from me. Sorry for the silence, it's been a big week. More news to follow...

Friday, 21 September 2012

What I Want...

There are so many things I want in life right now I thought I'd sit and get them all in a blog...

I want to be sitting on a beach watching the sunset somewhere, anywhere. I want to just sit and watch the sun dip in to the sea. If there was cool music playing, a beer and a blanket around my shoulders, I'd be fine with that.

I want to do a parachute jump. I don't but I do.

I want to stop overhearing petty conversations and squabbles that DON'T matter in the grand scheme of things. Some people have no idea what is out there and how good they have it, I don't ever want to slip in to that danger zone of normality.

I want to be snuggled up here:

I want to know where this cat came from...

I want to stop typing and go and drink some red wine.

Stopping now.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

What I'm Reaching For...


OK so the third one scares me the most... but a drunken pinky promise is still a pinky promise, right?

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Some photos from Kenya...

Ahhhh Kenya. I miss you. I've been having a fresh look through my 500 photos from my July trip since I can't leave the country any time soon.

I have no idea what I did when I had an old film camera. I have no willpower when carrying an 8GB memory card - I MUST FILL IT WITH PHOTOS.

It's a problem of mine, I'm working on it. I'm also working on NOT uploading albums with 200 pictures on to Facebook. It's a work in progress.

Here are a few snaps from Kenya:


G is for... Gun apparently.

That's all really. Just felt like a little trip down memory lane because it's my blog and I'll do what I like. Plus I have a really sore throat tonight so I'm laying under my duvet on the sofa having eaten an ice cream like all grown ups do - having a sore throat is amazing!