Boho Gelato

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I have had the most amazing ice cream EVER in Brighton.

The carrot cake ice-cream from Boho Gelato is to-die-for! It literally tasted like it was plainly, purely, creamy carrot cake. It was so delicious that my diet plans completely went out of the window and I went back to the shop a 2nd time for more!

I also tried the lychee and mint ice cream. Light, refreshing and VERY lychee and mint!

I have no clue how they managed to get their ice cream flavours so right. I love it! I cannot wait to go back to Brighton for more! I am salivating just thinking back of my gelato experience there!

Yummy

The Lord God made them all

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The Blue Lagoon looking marvellous on a gorgeous spring day
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Stunning mother nature feat. The Atlantic Ocean
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Sólheimajökull glacier
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A view from the side of Seljalandsfoss, decorated with a breath-taking rainbow!
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The Faxi waterfall took my breath away
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Strokkur the hot spring greeted us with some beautiful performances when we went to say hello
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Gullfoss in all its grandeur

As you can tell, I have been away on holiday. I went with my parents and my brother, and safe to say, we had a rollin’ good time. Iceland is home to some of the most magnificent sceneries I have ever seen.

Creation spoke to me through its beauty, showing me how awesome and artistic its creator is. There is no way that volcanoes, waterfalls or oceans could have just “banged” out of nowhere. There must be a God- someone who painted the rainbows in the sky and sculpted those glaciers out of ice.

Yes, there IS a God. This God who breathes life into creation breathes true Life into my living. Lord, I lay my all down to you, for you are worthy to be praised. Hallelujah.

You’re the Word of God the Father,
From before the world began;
Every star and every planet
Has been fashioned by Your hand.
All creation holds together
By the power of Your voice:
Let the skies declare Your glory,
Let the land and seas rejoice!

You’re the Author of creation,
You’re the Lord of every man;
And Your cry of love rings out
Across the lands.

 

In Tenerife

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I am on holiday!

Now, I am sat by the heated pool at my hotel in Tenerife. I am in my bikini, all SPF-ed out and suntanning (whilst keeping all my fingers and toes crossed that the UV rays don’t wrinkle me up). It is so comfortable to finally be away from the wintry cold of England, being here in a foreign country and sat on a deck chair basking in the gentle embrace of Mr Sunshine. There is something strangely calming about watching kids bobbing around in the pool whilst being kept buoyant by their arm floats, seeing little children get all excited as they splash water at each other, and watching the clear blue water fan out as one ripple chases after another. I love the rhythmic sound of cool water lapping up onto the edges of the pool. I listen to the conversations other holiday-makers are having around me, and cannot help but find my brain completely disengaging as they natter on in the background, in Spanish, or Italian, or German- whatever. They speak words that I do not comprehend, so I sit back and switch off, aloof to whatever they think or say.

This holiday has been much needed. The stresses of work and life have been slowly getting to me in the last couple of weeks. Work has been tough, and I have been feeling very incompetent a lot of the time. There was the issue of the boy who got paralysed by dead-space sux while awake, the mental distress of dealing with his mother & a possible complaint, the problem with starting lists late, being unable to perform regional blocks that I am expected to know at my stage, constantly feeling judged by the people around me… and then there are the struggles with life itself- coping with my singleness, resigning to my loneliness, accepting that Leehom is now married (yes he is, but more about this another time), and generally trying to find purpose and joy in the mundane repetition of a boring adult life. I want to lead a purpose-filled existence, a life of fun and of interesting experiences. I want to go places, meet people, taste culinary delights, experience other cultures. I want to wake up daily with a huge smile on my face, excited to get up and say hello to a day that promises achievement and satisfaction. I want to go to bed every night grinning, knowing that it has been yet another day well-lived.

And so it has been nice to break away for a while. It has been lovely to have breakfast and dinner served up to me daily, to have my room tidied by someone else, to laze by the pool like this and let myself go brain-dead for a couple of days, to soak up sunshine that I have been much starved of, to relax and reflect, and to record my thoughts down like this.

This is the first time I am on a holiday like this- one in which I just could not care less. I am not interested in going to see the sights, to eat certain delicacies, to cram in a thousand million things into my itinerary and try to “make the most of this holiday.” I am not bothered about anything at all. I just want to thoroughly chill. If the thought of going somewhere appears remotely stressful, then screw it. I don’t care enough to stress about it. I am here to rest my soul.

The first day I got here, I was post nights and had had a couple of busy days preparing for this trip. This, together with the fact that it rained all day in Tenerife on day 1, meant that I just hit the sack in my hotel room and slept… and slept and slept. I remember waking up to have dinner, going back to my room for a shower, blogging a little, then heading straight back to dreamland yet again.

On my second day, I woke up to a scrumptious breakfast, then hit the pool where I could finally swim! I had been wanting to go swimming while I was still in the UK, but the busy-ness of work and life meant that it stayed on my to-do list for a month and a half. I swam for a long time that day, enjoying the sensation of cool water softly caressing my weary body, reaching deep into the nooks and crannies to provide a rejuvenation of my body and mind. There was a gym instructor who came to join us at the pool that day, and he took us for a session of aquagym- exercises in the water to get your body moving, your heart pumping and your blood circulating. It was super fun, and I am inspired to go for such in-pool exercise classes when I get back to England. For the rest of the day, I went walking along the beaches on the South-West coast of Tenerife. It was scorching hot, and I walked for an exceptionally long distance. I had wanted to get from Fanabe where I was to the Las Americas. It took me 3 hrs, a nearly burnt nose, and a couple of blisters on my feet to finally arrive there. I did a tiny bit of shopping at the Las Americas before I managed to summon sufficient courage to begin the long trek back (thankfully it was evening by then and the sunset was much more forgiving then the midday burn). When I returned to the hotel, it was dinner and then K.O. into the land of realistic fantasy.

Yesterday was probably the only day when I actually visited a tourist destination. I went to Siam Park, The Water Kingdom. Siam park is a huge water park with a Thai theme. It was really really fun! The last time I went to a water park was when I was maybe of primary school age? (I remember it was to the now defunct Fantasy Island in Sentosa). Too young anyway to go on any rides or remember any of the fun. This time, I was determined to go on most of the rides. I started by hitting “Siam beach,” a man made beach complete with “seawater” (which is really just a very large pool of fairly shallow water on concrete ground, capable of producing waves of different sizes). People were all trying to catch the waves, but most like me ended up just being washed away by the sheer strength of the approaching body of water. I also went on the “Naga Racer,” which is essentially a very long, and fairly vertical slide that you slide belly-down on a mat. It was highly exhilarating, especially when you try and keep your eyes open as you make your very fast and very vertical descent. I loved it though, and ended up going 3 times. There was also the “Dragon”, the “Mekong rapids”, and “Kinnaree”- these were all group rides on a huge float, through slides and tunnels with rushing water, tossing you backwards and forwards sometimes in light and occasionally in pitch blackness, turning you around and around, then allowing you to drop almost vertically downwards. It was terrifying, and there were some times when I thought I might actually be thrown out of the float! There were also a couple of rides when I was riding backwards towards a nearly vertical drop. Do you know the feeling of having your gut thrown into your chest when the aeroplane enters an area of turbulence? Well, I felt that a lot yesterday… BUT it was super fun! There was a lot of water splashed, a tonne of hysterical screaming, and a shedload of adrenaline pumping away in my body. The “Giant” was another such ride, a solo ride though, and I enjoyed it so much that I went back for a second serving. I also got to float along the “Mai Thai river” in a float, but that proved to be mind-numbingly boring. With the water turning me clockwise one minute and anticlockwise the next, I actually thought I might be sick. So I abandoned the ride quickly. One other major attraction in the park is “The Tower of Power”- essentially a very long freaky slide that plunges almost vertically down into a glass tube within an aquarium containing sharks! It looked horrifically scary- I gave that a miss for want of my precious little life. I walked everywhere barefooted that day- up concrete stairs, down gravelly paths, across wooden bridges and along the sandy beaches. My poor little abused feet were screaming out in pain by the end of the day and my gait changed into a pathetic limp! Nevertheless, it was a great day all in all, and I would totally recommend visiting that park again (Says the NEVER-adrenaline junkie who has never/ can never/ will never be on a roller coaster. Hear here, all ye who suffer motion sickness, this might just be alright for you!)!!

As for today, I have literally been sitting by the pool/ swimming for the last 3hrs. I am off to a 2hr long “wine ritual lover” treatment (bath, exfoliation, wrap and massage) in about half an hour. Hopefully, that will be really relaxing and totally worth the hole in my pocket the size of 150euros!

* continued…

It is now 2138hrs at night. I have been to my spa day experience and I find myself struggling to describe just how awesome it was. It started with 10mins in the jacuzzi and steam room. Amazingly, I had these facilities all to myself as no one else had booked in for a treatment at the same time. The jets of water at the jacuzzi served as the perfect way to start soothing my achy muscles. After 3 days of walking & swimming, I have overloaded my lazy muscles with exercise that they have not dealt with in a while. Those cheeky buggers are now protesting against the sudden increase in their workload, and I am punished with aching in parts of my body that I did not even know existed.

After the jacuzzi, I headed into the steam room to get my BMR up, to open up my pores and to start purging said clogged pores through intense perspiration. I was careful not to overdo it though, as I clearly remembered how my last steam room experience left me completely and utterly exhausted for the next day and a half.

Following that, my masseuse led me to a private room where my treatments were to officially begin. We started off with a body scrub. I have never had a body scrub in my life and boy did that feel good! I could literally feel layers of dead skin and all the associated encrusted dirt being lifted off me. When I got in the shower to wash the scrub off, I was pleasantly surprised by just how silky-smooth my skin had become! After the exfoliation, I had some kind of mask slathered all over me. From how it smelled, I suspect it was seaweed. I was then wrapped up in a plastic sheet, and then again with some towels. To be honest, I felt like I was some kind of food being prepared for cooking. Washed, scrubbed clean, then marinaded, wrapped up and left to sit for a while before being put in the cooker. Haha. Anyway, I got a head massage thereafter and that felt good.

Finally, after I had the mask washed off, we settled down to the real business. The massage. The masseuse applied oil all over my body. It smelt heavenly… I think it was grape, or mandarin orange. Very skilfully, she pressed and kneaded and knocked on the aching muscles all over my body. My back, neck, legs, arms, abdomen, and even my breasts! It felt so comforting and relaxing to feel the warmth of her silky smooth fingers and hands pushing against my skin, pressing into where I was tense and sore. My brain switched off completely then, and all I could think of was just how much I enjoyed every movement of her nifty massaging hands on my body.

The massage finally ended with a quick wipe down of my body with a lovely warm towel, and I was then offered a glass of red wine, green tea, and some fruit & biscuits. The whole experience was just out of this world…

As I sat on the round rattan chair by the shop window sipping on my red wine, staring out into the dusk and reliving this whole holiday in my head, I cannot help but feel so blessed. I came to Tenerife for relaxation, and I dare say I definitely got it this week.

Dear Lord, thank you.

Trip out to the Blue Mountains

AUD 99 bought me a trip to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, so named because of the Eucalyptus oil produced by gum trees that line these mountains. The oil, mixed with water droplets and dust, refract sunlight in such a way that it painted the mountaintops a tinge of dreamy blue.

It was a lovely warm day, and it was nice to have my touring looked after by someone else after a long week in a foreign place.

The tour guide/ coach driver was an Australian man named Mark. It was nice to hear his Australian accent come through the speakers of the coach for a whole day. He was funny and friendly, and told us all kinds of random facts throughout the day. His ancestors, his old place of residence, the price of bottled water and petrol, the use of electronic tags to pay toll money in Australia…

It took us approximately 2 hours to arrive at Katoomba by coach. Katoomba is an Aboriginal word for “shining, tumbling waters,” how romantic. Our first stop was the echo point lookout, where we would view “The three sisters,” Mount Solitary and the Jamison Valley. It was quite a breathtaking sight to behold. From the lookout point, all I could see were cliffs, mountains, valleys, rivers, green trees and a vast cloudless blue sky.

The “three sisters” is a rock formation produced by many years of erosion by the elements. To the Australian Aborigines however, it is a sacred place from their Aboriginal dreamtime, where 3 sisters were cursed into becoming these astounding pillars of rock.

We headed off to “Skywalk” thereafter. This is essentially a cable car ride across the valley. From this cable car, we could see more of Mother Nature and her beauty. We could view the three sisters and the eternity waterfall. There was also a platform within the Skywalk ride that changed from being translucent to transparent right beneath our feet, enabling us to view the valley thousands of miles below us. Amazing, but scary at the same time.

After a short lunch, I proceeded to take the railway down to the bottom of the valley. Now, this is the world’s steepest railway, angling up to 52 degrees at its steepest point. I sat on the outside, where there was no barrier to stop me from falling out. In fact, there weren’t even any seatbelts or anything to tie me onto the carriage itself! It was mighty scary. I felt like the train was going almost vertically at some points, and had to hang on to a bar with one hand whilst my other hand grasped onto the wire fencing above our heads. The ride was a quick one thankfully- I don’t think I would have survived anything longer!

When we got into the Valley, I enjoyed a short board walk through it. It was really cool under the canopy of the rainforest trees. I looked around me and all I could see were tree trunks, leaves, vines… nature in all its glory. In fact, I felt like I had walked onto the set of “planet earth.” My geography lessons from secondary school flashed across my mind; sadly, I could not remember much.

The trip into the valley ended with a cable car ride back to the top. It was like any other cable car ride, except that it was going vertically rather than horizontally, and it ended with a (planned) swing.

After we got away from ScenicWorld, we spent some time browsing the shops at Leura mall. Following that, we headed back to Sydney where we were taken on a quick drive around the Olympic Park before being dropped back off at our respective hotels.

It was a lovely day out. Australia can be so beautiful.

Bondi Beach & Attractive Aussies

I went to Bondi beach today.

After 3 days of persistent rain, the cumulonimbus clouds finally relented and let the shy sun peek through. It was sunny and warm, perfect for a nice day out at the beach.

It was my first time at Bondi beach today, and I have to say that it was everything I expected it to be. Clear sapphire blue skies, emerald green waters, white waves washing ashore onto the long stretch of cream coloured sand. The sun was shining on my face and the cool sea breeze in my hair. Throngs of sun-worshippers had arrived, each person taking his or her own little spot on the sand to sunbathe, read, picnic, or simply just chill out. Others were building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or jogging along the coastline. Surfers rode the waves in the sea, yet others were swimming, or simply thrashing about playfully with their mates in the water.

It was a day for the young and old.

I joined in the fun too, and allowed myself to bake under the sun for about an hour. I then walked along the beach, people watching and getting all trigger-happy. I had a watermelon-flavoured snow cone today, and it was just the thing I needed to bring this hot day to perfection. Before I knew it, I had been out for almost 4 hours, and I was well and truly roasted (yes, my skin is all red and inflamed now, and I am starting to regret not putting any sunscreen on).

As I strolled along the beach, I could not help but notice how HOT Australian men are. There were so many of them out there today, all half naked and showing off their toned, sun-kissed bodies. They all seemed to have the necessary 6 pecs and classic V shaped body. Many have also been blessed with rather handsome, chiselled faces. These, together with tousled blonde or brown hair, a winning smile, and a sexy Aussie accent, made them unbelievably attractive. I found it very hard not to stare.

Aussie women are also not to be outdone. Toned abs and perky bums were seen everywhere- they make it seem as though it was easy and normal to attain a figure like theirs! I was completely and utterly put to shame when I tried to compare myself to their amazing bikini bodies. Many of the women were also a healthy bronze colour, which must have taken hours, days and months of sun-worshipping to attain. These women were quite obviously very confident and proud of their bodies, many of them choosing to display themselves in semi-nudity to the rest of us beach-goers.

All in all, it was a gorgeous day out at the beach. I haven’t been to one in the longest time ever, so it was nice for me to get my pasty looking self out in the sun again. I love people watching, and spending the day at Bondi was certainly a treat for me.