A Day Trip to Gili T | Bali

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[dropcap]A [/dropcap]big advantage to staying in Lombok is it’s proximity to the Gilli islands. From Bali, you’re looking at a 2 hour ferry ride but from Lombok it’s only 15-20 minutes by boat. We were able to hire a speed boat through our hotel to take us over to the largest (and most developed) of the islands, Gili Trawangan, for the day. You know those famous Instagram shots of the swings out at sea? They live here. So, we climbed aboard and sped across the sea to see what Gili T had to offer.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16056″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16109″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16055″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16106″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16060″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16072″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

As the largest of the all the Gili islands, Gili T was also the busiest. I was surprised to find a buzzing hub of backpackers, bars, dive centres, and other day trippers weaving in and out of the dozens of pony drawn carts. There are no cars on the island- you either cycle, walk or hop onto a pony cart.

I feel like this is against all notions of exploration, but we used Google Maps to find our way over to the sea swings. In the midday heat, I was dismayed to find that we had to walk across the entire island to reach it. But hey, ADVENTURE. So a very long, hot, dusty walk it was.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16068″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16104″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16098″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16092″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16096″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516896996742{padding-top: 200px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 265px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: contain !important;}”]

A good half hour later, just as I was about to declare that we were lost, we spotted the ocean ahead of us once again. Gone were the crowds from where we started our trek. A total contrast to when we jumped off our boat.

Shipwrecked almost?

Even the sea looked bluer, if that was even possible.

Drawn to a shipwrecked boat, it was there that we spotted the first of many swings.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16091″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16076″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16081″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16089″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516897074980{padding-top: 180px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 205px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: contain !important;}”]

From one swing to the next, we walked along the shore. It wasn’t busy at all- probably more to do with the time of day and the blazing midday sun- but to dip my feet in the turquoise water was…wonderful.

Right. Call it holiday brain or whatever, but neither of us had packed water or a towel. Hanger and thirst kicked in. We had agreed to meet our boat skipper at 1 o clock and we hadn’t stopped for lunch yet. As we were a good half hour walk away at least, we had to jump into a pony cart to get take us back to the other side of the island.

A very bumpy ride later, we hopped out and grabbed lunch.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16069″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16075″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16070″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16358″ img_size=”1000×1500″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15638″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Just before we were due to leave, we spotted a sea turtle hatchery and asked if we could stay for another half hour. You can’t miss it- it’s on the main beach.

It was teeny tiny- nothing more than a big patio with three large water tanks. One for the hatchlings, one for when they reach 8 weeks and then a third for when they ready to be released.

Fishermen are encouraged to sell the turtle eggs to the hatchery instead of the market. I felt sad- it was so tiny, and relied on donations to keep ticking along. All of the Gili islands do their part to respect and preserve the sea turtles, so if you are around, consider a donation.

Then, it was back to the boat to take us over to Lombok again.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16066″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16062″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16110″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16112″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16050″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16049″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16048″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

We arrived back at Lombok, where our skipper insisted on buying us ice creams before we returned back to Puri Mas.

If I had any tips for Gili T, it would be…

Pack a towel (and water!)

Hire a bike (they are everywhere)

Go snorkelling – the sea is so clear and blue here

There are loads of dive centres if you are staying longer

The main beach is very busy with bars, backpackers, hostels etc but if you are seeking peace and quiet- head to the other side of the island.

Gili T is developing at a rapid rate; there was a lot of construction when we were there. Old shacks were being ripped down to make way for newer, modern buildings and businesses. If you are after a more rustic vibe, stay on the smaller Gili islands instead.

Alternatively- stay in Lombok! It’s just a short boat trip away.

Our sleepy island stay was coming to an end and we were due to depart for Bali the next day. Next up- Seminyak!

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Welcome to Lombok | Bali

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[dropcap]L[/dropcap]eaving behind Singapore, having bounced from one major city to another, I was really looking forward to spending a few days in Lombok, a small island just off Bali. Lombok was exactly what I needed- small, peaceful and relaxed. Our resort was about an hour’s drive away from the airport, right by the sea with not much else around. For the three nights that we were there, I was content to float in the pool like a starfish, watch the waves, and eat and drink my weight in watermelon.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16031″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16039″ img_size=”1000×2000″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15639″ img_size=”1000×1460″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16174″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16154″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16038″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16036″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

We stayed at the Puri Mas Resort, a boutique hotel in the Senggigi area of Lombok. In retrospect, I wish I had spent another day or two in Lombok because it was just the loveliest peaceful getaway.

The resort was, once upon a time, meant to be a holiday home. It’s Dutch owner built add on’s throughout the years and eventually transformed it into the resort it is today. The original house is at the centre of the grounds, leading out towards the infinity pool overlooking the sea;  the rest of the property is surrounded by small villas for guests.

Puri Mas also has a spa, 2 minutes drive away from the main resort. It’s closer inland, nestled into a hill and it is amazing. It wasn’t just the outdoor massage listening to the real life jungle sounds nor the swimming pool, or the exotic parrots or even because hey spa treatments. It was because…Sultan the dog.

Sultan belongs to the hotel owner and to be honest, present me with an animal in any situation and I’d be ohmygodamazing. But, he really was beautiful.

For our stay, we booked into a Jacuzzi Villa. It felt like having our own home on the grounds, with a front door leading straight into a courtyard and a dipping pool in the corner.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16040″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16238″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16233″ img_size=”1000×1340″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”16236″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516897623732{padding-top: 150px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 180px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

As soon as we unpacked, I was face planting the bed in a deep sleep for a couple of hours, the jetlag and busy schedule of Singapore finally catching up with me. When I wasn’t succumbing to the jetlag, all I wanted to do was float, like a starfish in the pool. I could win Olympic medals in floating. Such form! Such grace!

Puri Mas has an infinity pool overlooking the sea that is perfect for such things like Olympic floating. There are also steps down to the beach and it’s beautiful blue waters so you can flit back and forth between the pool and the sea all afternoon.

Lombok is a lot quieter than the main island of Bali, with acres of coconut groves and rice fields. It felt like we were the only resort around for miles. In the evenings, as the sun went down, the beach was home to families having a splash and paddle before dinner and local surfers making their way home as the sun set.

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Sunsets were a Balinese speciality. Every evening, I never tired of watching the sky turn melt into a hundred colours from that warm glow at golden hour to the deep pinks and magentas as night falls in.

(when I was little, I’d take countless sunset photos with a disposable camera)

As the sun went down over the horizon, surfers would come back to shore and fishermen would wade out into the surf. A lazy dinner would follow- and at every meal, the waiters would come by for a general chitchat.

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South East Asia is pretty friendly but Bali takes the crown (take it from a girl who grew up on a neighbouring island!) At first I thought it was a Lombok thing, but even on the big island this continued.

Everyone was really helpful and friendly- the restaurant manager who came to wait for us by the roadside, a guide who insisted he buy us ice cream and another who gave us both a hug after a long day of visiting temples. Three days on Lombok did a world of good, and we even squeezed in a day trip to one of the Gilli islands (post coming up!)

Lombok-I definitely want to come back.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Gardens by the Bay | Singapore

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap] didn’t go to Singapore just to eat (although, who am I kidding, that was a big part of it) but there was one place on my list of “See & Do” for our stopover whilst there- the Gardens by the Bay. I wanted to see the giant tree sculptures- the ones that wouldn’t look out of place in a sci fi movie. Coupled with two enormous domed conservatories, it seemed too good of an opportunity to miss out. Singapore knows exactly what it’s doing with the whole city slash nature balance. This park was amazing. Our starting point was the Sky Deck at Marina Bay Sands to get a view from above before making our way across the road to the park- a tip I definitely recommend![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15747″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516898016385{padding-top: 200px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 340px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

We took the MTR down towards Bayfront, and then from there followed the signs towards the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. The Sky Park Observation Deck is pretty easy to spot (signage! everywhere!) and costs $22 per person. We got our tickets from the Box Office on the day and there wasn’t even a queue! Or you could book ahead here.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15752″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15749″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15750″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15754″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15748″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15756″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The lift takes you up, up, up and out onto a decked roof terrace with superb views out towards the sea and also over the city.

It’s also on the same level as the famous infinity pool that the Marina Bay Sands is famous for, but I felt like the deck was better for two reasons

1) You have a better vantage point, with views stretching out to the ocean as well as the cityscape

2) Much less crowded. Sure, you aren’t in a swimming pool, but honestly I’d take the space option anytime.

We spent about 20 minutes walking along the terrace, taking photos before heading back down to terra firma and into the park.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15743″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15738″ img_size=”large” css=”.vc_custom_1516898051263{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516898088473{padding-top: 150px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 160px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

The entry fee to the park is $28 each- which is steep, but as we spent literally the whole day here it was worth it.

It was an extra $12 for tickets to enter both of the conservatory domes; they were excellent! Beautiful, air conditioned (with wifi!) and they were far more than just giant green conservatories, they felt like an entirely new futuristic landscape.

The first dome was full of succulents, cacti and bloomed with thousands of different coloured flowers. There’s a pretty cafe inside called Pollen, where the air conditioned chill makes you glad for a cup of tea.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15739″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15735″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15728″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15737″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]As impressive as this conservatory was, the second one was breath taking. Prepare to get a little wet though as inside houses all the tropical fauna- starting off with a massive leafy wall of little waterfalls.

The main attraction inside here though- aside from gorgeous waterfalls- is the walk around platform. It’s like The Jetsons meets Jurassic Park; and maybe not one to do if you have a fear of heights![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15724″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15716″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15712″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15717″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15730″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15722″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15713″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15702″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15710″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15714″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15705″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15703″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The tropical dome was by far my favourite; it was so lush and tropical, it was just the best.

The platform that snakes around the mountain (I can’t describe it any other way) is well worth the ticket price alone. It’s just so beautifully done, getting up close to the plants but not losing sight of the city around you.

Hidden inside, on the way down (with escalators, because Singapore) was a floor dedicated to crystals. Crystals. I hoped they imparted their good juju vibes to me.

We must have been inside for at least an hour and by the time we came out, we were starving. My stomach was demanding it’s second lunch and early dinner so it was a leisurely walk to a hawker centre- Satay by the Bay- where I filled up on crispy dosai and noodles.

As the sun began to set, we set off for the giant trees again.

For another $8 you can go up to another viewing platform that also snakes around the trees…however, once I was up there my head was just ‘NOPE NOT THIS AGAIN’ and I quickly stomped my way across without stopping (and I’m not even that afraid of heights)

…moving on,

In the evening, the trees erupt into a neon light show. People were picking spots, lying on the grass or below the trees but we skipped this and went up for a better vantage point (you’ll see the stairs)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15691″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15693″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15687″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15686″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15683″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15682″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15680″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The sun went down, and the lights began powering up.

I felt like we were waiting for our close encounter with aliens.

15 minutes later, the music ended and the setting sun had been swapped for glittering city lights.

As this is super efficient Singapore, there was a taxi rank just outside and we were soon speeding along towards our next dinner date.

I was more than happy to have spent a big chunk of our day here- to be within the city but apart from it and to get a taste of the lush green tropics.

It was a short and sweet hello and goodbye to Singapore and a promise to return for longer the next time. Our flight departed for Lombok, Bali early the next morning taking us from the city to the beach.

My speedy guide to Singapore can be found here and additional travel posts here![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

A Speedy Guide through Singapore

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith only two days scheduled in Singapore, there was a lot to fit into those measly 48 hours. Mainly chicken rice. And okay, some friend catch ups too. I slotted back into the Far Eastern way of life easily- lots of snacks, and second lunches and dinners. It was a flurry of food, hawker centres, gorgeous weather, and hitting 10,000 steps a day at least. For this visit, we weren’t able to fit into a trip to Sentosa but should you ever be in the same boat and have a limited time to explore the city, then I hope this speedy little guide through Singapore is of some help![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator border_width=”3″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15777″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15668″ img_size=”large” css=”.vc_custom_1516899151675{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516899170125{padding-top: 120px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 130px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

Singapore is super easy to navigate and even at rush hour, isn’t offensively over crowded *ahem London*

The MTR: Head to a ticket booth inside any station and purchase an EZ-Link card that you can use to top up. We had $7 credit on each of our cards and it lasted the whole time we were there. You can also pick up a little MTR map at the ticket booth to help navigate your way around. Tap in and out, just as you would with an Oyster card.

Taxi: there are so many taxis in Singapore you’ll never have to wait for long. Look out for an official taxi rank to hail one down.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15748″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15769″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15772″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15773″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15775″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

My parents met in Singapore, and as I walked through Chinatown I wondered if this is what the Lion City looked like back then. With quaint colonial style buildings and cute window shutters, before the skyscrapers arrived and multiplied.

All over the city, lush foliage and trees melt into the urban landscape reminding you that this is still a tropical island. It’s a characteristic of this place that I adore- you’re in the middle of a bustling city but it’s no concrete jungle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15771″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15766″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15758″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15780″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Where to start? I would recommend heading towards…

Orchard Road

Orchard Road is to Singapore as Oxford Street is to London. It’s a long road full of malls and shops. You’ll find everything from high end designer shops at one end to the quirky and kitschy boutiques down the other.

Club Street

Full of old world charm and pretty window shutters, this is the place to bar hop or indulge your foodie ways. Try P.S Cafe on Ann Siang Hill Park (but best book ahead)

Bugis Street

An indoor market full of trinkets, street food. Pick up a few giant sized siu mai dumplings for $3 or sticks of fruit.

Arab Street

I guess the Shoreditch of Singapore? Cool boutiques, bars and street art overlooked by the Sultan Mosque.

With only two days to cram in some sights, must eats, and to see friends we had to reluctantly be a bit brutal with our sightseeing plans. We skipped Sentosa and the waterfront and instead explored the Gardens by the Bay, somewhere neither of us had been before. That needs an entire post of it’s own because it is vast!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15814″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15815″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15813″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15762″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15761″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516899221863{padding-top: 100px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 100px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

You can’t go wrong anywhere in Singapore, but for the really good stuff, head to a hawker centre.

Maxwell Food Centre 

Maxwell’s is famous and the most famous stall of all is Tian Tian Chicken Rice- especially since Anthony Bourdain gave his seal of approval. Go at midday before the queue gets out of hand.

Newton Food Centre

This open air hawker centre is known for it’s barbecued stingray and seafood. Pick a table and let someone take your orders. They’ll go to each stall for you. I ordered the cereal prawns- crispy, sweet and salty.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15677″ img_size=”large” css=”.vc_custom_1516899196391{margin-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15676″ img_size=”800×1000″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15673″ img_size=”1100×1500″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15776″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Once I satisfied my chicken rice cravings, I began to focus on the other lovely nibbles that I love and miss back in the UK.

Satay- the real, sticky, smoky grilled kind with the kind of spicy peanut sauce made from scratch and not watered down peanut butter. (The smell of the meat grilling against the hot charcoals is phenomenal)

Enormous crispy dosai (similar to a French galette crepe) that I watch being flattened and fried in front of me and dipped into a dish of vegetable curry.

Oodles of noodles- all kinds! I love a good old fried bee hoon but Robin usually likes to tuck into the flat rice ones. You can’t go wrong with noodles.

There are stalls selling sticks of fruit, little dumplings, and sweet treats (get Kaya flavoured anything, it’s pandan/coconutty goodness)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15696″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15697″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”15820″ img_size=”1000×1430″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15763″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15760″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”15731″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Days seem to last longer in Asia than anywhere else. The sun rises early and sets late into the evening, not to mention everything is open until late into the night anyway (even malls)

Another good thing Singapore has nailed (beside air conditioning everything, everywhere) is the free wifi- I never had to struggle to find a connection. Just a handy little tip.

On our final day, we spent the majority of it down at the Gardens by the Bay. It’s that big, it took most of the afternoon to see all the exhibits, explore the grounds and then we stayed until well after sunset to watch the light show. That’s for another post!
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Four Seasons Hampshire | Our Anniversary Weekend

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith just one day and a night to enjoy the most of the country escape that the Four Seasons in Hampshire had to offer, our itinerary was packed. After our bikes were put away, it was time for our very first round of clay pigeon shooting, followed by a spa treatment for me and a tennis lesson for Robin. I wanted to breathe in as much country air as my lungs could handle, explore as much of those 500 acres as I could, and convince Oliver the hotel dog that I was like, the best human ever.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13131″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13216″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13224″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13150″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”CLAY PIGEON SHOOTING” color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Right, first things first.

You need guns to be able to shoot. And not the kind with a trigger that I was about to pick up, but those babies that Popeye likes to flex. By the end of the lesson, my shoulders and arms were like lead.

At the start of our clay pigeon shooting lesson, everyone is given ear protectors and glasses, and then an instructor takes you round each of the stands to shoot a few rounds from an enormous rifle.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13223″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13291″ img_size=”800×650″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1471182970979{background-color: #fcf7f3 !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1516903199169{padding-top: 60px !important;padding-right: 40px !important;padding-bottom: 80px !important;padding-left: 40px !important;background-color: #f8f3f0 !important;}”]

I was surprised how difficult it was; all those episodes of Walking Dead had me fooled.

Once you have the stance down, you are shown how to hold the gun correctly and when best to pull the trigger. When you’re ready, you simply shout “PULL!” Sounds simple, but its like swatting a mosquito with the sun in your eyes- hard!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13225″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13167″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”SPA & TENNIS” color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]So, out of 20 odd rounds, I only hit the target twice. I probably wouldn’t survive a zombie apocalypse.

We got to take home a clay disk each as a souvenir for our efforts. Wiggling my sore shoulders back to life, I had just enough time to run back to my room and change for my spa treatment.

The spa is housed in the former stables, just behind the main house. It’s here that you can arrange all spa treatments, tennis lessons, bike hire or even if you just fancy a swim.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13229″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]All creeping ivy and brick, it’s a beautiful building.

I had signed up for a Balinese massage- 75 minutes of warm aromatherapy oils and hot stones massaged all over my now sore and aching body.

Once ‘checked in’ at the spa reception, I threw all my things into a locker, slipped on a robe and slippers and waited for my therapist inside a relaxation room.

Cucumber water in one hand, magazine in the other, the therapist was right on time to collect me and led me to the treatment room. I chose which scents I found most appealing (ylang ylang) and even chose the colour of the lighting (I went with calming green tones)

I definitely drifted into sleep. I know this because I woke up with a tell tale snort. Twice.

Whilst I was snorting away and being massaged, Robin signed up to a private tennis lesson with the resort’s tennis pro. Afterwards we met up in the swimming pool and sat bubbling away in the jacuzzi, like two olives in a martini.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13380″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”SEASONS & SUNSETS” color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13218″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After our swim, there was time to relax in our room and get ready for our dinner reservation; even though we were staying at the hotel, we still had to book a table as its a popular place in the area.

With a late dinner planned, I wanted to make the most of the gorgeous sunset outside…and to bother Oliver the hotel dog who just wanted a few minutes peace outside on the lawn.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13192″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13213″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13211″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13219″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13217″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13215″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13132″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Skirt from here (& other colours here) | Sandals from here | Plain tee here

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Once the sun went down, we had just enough time for a cocktail in Bar 1086, just opposite Seasons restaurant. There’s a terrace outside if you want your sundowner as the sun goes down, or you can cosy up on a plush armchair.

Our drinks were brought over to our table in the restaurant because the Four Seasons is the kind of place where they won’t let you lift a finger- I highly recommend the Chalky Lane Tea (it came in a clear tea cup on a bed of moss and berries!)

The best thing about eating yourself silly here is that you can just roll away back to your room, where I put my fluffy robe back on and fell asleep on that giant king sized bed…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”BREAKFAST” color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]My favourite three little words have to be…Room Service Breakfast

Once upon a time, there may even have been a room service breakfast marriage proposal.

I love breakfast. I just don’t love mornings.

Having food delivered to me, without having to get dressed or face the world all bleary eyed and sleepy is my kind of treat. Food in my PJ’s! Woohoo!

Before drifting off to sleep the night before, we hung our breakfast request on the bedroom door. Bang on the dot the very next morning, my precious had arrived.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13210″ img_size=”1000×1500″ alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13419″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13421″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Berries and waffles for me and a Full English for Robin.

I had a pot of rich black coffee all to myself and our spread also included a small basket of pastries, jam, and marmalade.

I wish every meal was a breakfast food. Croissants for everyone!

And just like that, it was time to get our bags together and check out.

Goodbye to the green views from our window, to the gorgeous grounds and to this hunky country gentleman…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13226″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13220″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13162″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The valet brought our car round to the front entrance, and then it was down the winding road and back towards to London, with me feeling pretty sulky about it.

As special occasions go, this one was perfect. Maybe see you next year Hampshire?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Four Seasons Hampshire | A Wedding Anniversary

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we escaped to the countryside in Hampshire for the weekend. As first wedding anniversaries only come round once, we picked the Four Seasons hotel for our getaway. Only an hour or so outside of London, it had everything we needed; 500 acres of land to cycle and explore, horses, clay pigeon shooting, a fishing pond, swimming pools, tennis courts and (most importantly) a spa! Leaving London early on a Saturday morning, we left the builders to it and made our escape to greener pastures.[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13163″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13230″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13227″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13169″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”THE FOUR SEASONS” color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The hotel is an an enormous Georgian manor house, set down a long windy road through iron gates. You’ll never need to leave the grounds once you’re here because everything is onsite; which is great, because I had zero intentions of leaving.

This particular Four Seasons is dog friendly AND they have a hotel dog (!!!) – Oliver the Labrador, who has a spot by the fireplace next to Reception. Forget the hotel luxuries, it was Oliver who made my heart all fluttery.

With only one day and night here, I had planned to cram in as many fun activities as possible to make the most of our stay- enforced fun, woohoo! 

Once we had checked in and had lunch, we signed out two bikes for some afternoon exploring…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”EXPLORING” color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13165″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13164″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13187″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13175″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13152″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13174″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13173″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13119″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13146″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13149″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator color=”custom” border_width=”2″ accent_color=”#ff8d6b”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I love riding bikes; but you’ll never catch me on the streets of London on one because me= clutz

It felt good in an Enid Blyton kind of way to coast up and down small hills and paths, stopping to look at the cows and horses.

And it turns out- cows sooo want to be in my squad but horses, not so much.

These friendly ladies wandered up to the fence to see me.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13176″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13180″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Such pretty ladies!

(I’m assuming ladies. I didn’t look too closely)

I love how nosy they are. I bet they’re called Gertie and Bertha or some other Nana like name.

With a cheerio to Gertie and Bertha (see? all the Enid Blytonisms coming out now) It was over to the horse paddocks, where they played hard to get.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13159″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13153″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”13157″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13154″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]See? Not fussed at all

We had more time to kill until our clay pigeon shooting lesson, but I was happy just staying outside in the sunshine. When the sun shines in England, the world feels like a much happier place.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13179″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13188″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13182″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13184″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13150″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13121″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13171″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13185″ img_size=”full”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]After achieving the perfect awkward tan line through my sandals, it was time to head back to the manor house and get ready for our shooting lessons.

To get back to the bike shed, you have to walk down this gravel path lined with lavender bushes. (To the left, is the Chef’s Patch where the chefs grow their own herbs and vegetables for the restaurant)[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13123″ img_size=”large”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”13221″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Arriving back to our room, we found that the hotel had left a sweet treat and a note of congratulations for us.

It was scoffed down immediately, because I am very efficient like that.

Exploring over- it was time to go shoot some clay disks in the air. I’ll have that part up soon (If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already watched it all unfurl on my Stories)

Toodle pip![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]