Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Travel Tuesday: Surf's Up In Huanchaco

We were in chilly Huaraz, it was 8:50 and we were killing time waiting for our bus at 10pm to go to Huanchaco and Trujillo on the North Coast of Peru when Nick flicked the TV on. On every station there were news reports about the earthquake that had hit Chile, which meant they were predicting a tsunami to hit the area we were going to. We looked at the map and the route the bus took was the PanAmerican Highway which ran along the coast, all night. Not good. We had to either risk going, or lose the money for the bus. We asked the lady at Joe's place and she seemed pretty sure that we would be fine. Risking the value of a ticket over our own lives we decided to take the bus.

I was so scared all night, I don't sleep well on buses, but this was even worse. I kept peering out of the window into the still darkness, expecting to see a huge mass of water heading towards the bus out of the blackness. But we arrived safe and sound at Trujillo bus station at 4am and jumped into a taxi. The taxi driver explained that nothing had happened, and that he had been on a fishing boat the night before and although it had been a little choppy, it was fine.

We decided to use the Lonely Planet for once and chose a hostel Naylamp which offered private rooms, dorms and camping too. We didn't really get to look around as it was still dark, but the sleepy guy on reception ushered us into a deluxe room and we were amazed. The room was built up on a hill and overlooked the sea. It was ensuite and had the towels folded into amazing origami shapes on the bed. I know, it's the small things, but when you're travelling luxuries are few and far between. I would strongly recommend this hostel, it was really clean, next to the beach, spacious and also did great food.
Huanchaco
We woke up pretty late and ordered breakfast to our room, lemon pancakes and chamomile tea! After that we went on a hunt for a pharmacist to try and get rid of the bug that was hunting us once and for all. Finding a pharmacy proved a harder task than we thought, considering how small the town is, there are not many signs, so you have to peer into the shady shops to see what they have on offer. The lady gave us some medicine and a huge bottle of strawberry medicine and told us to drink it all in 24 hours. Quite a challenge! We spent our first day just enjoying our room, the camping area meant there was lots of green space with hammocks, and with the beach just a stone's throw away we wandered by the sea that no longer seemed as menacing as the night before. We had dinner at the Dutch owned vegetarian restaurant next to the hostel, filling up on falafel and apple pie and were in bed by 9:30.
Huanchaco
Feeling much better after resting and our medicine we decided to do something touristy and go to Chan Chan. This is the biggest remaining ancient mud city in the world. As we walked down the path to the visitor centre, we could't believe how huge it was and how long we actually had to walk for! The yellow sandy walls contrasted with the blue sky and the sea beyond. Each King would build his own temple in the city and when he died it would be closed off with all of his treasures as his grave, and his predecessor would start to build his own grave temple. Pretty cool.
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
The next day we went for a surf lesson. Nick was definitely on his way to becoming a pro, I was more like a beached whale with my mobility on a board. The teacher would send me off into the wave and shout 'GET UP! GET UP GET UP!' but I was just enjoying the ride and found it really hard to get up and keep my balance. After a couple of attempts, the teacher helped me get in position and said softly 'If you don't get up this time, I will kill you!' Well that certainly gave me motivation but in my panic I fell off after a second or two. I swam reluctantly back to him and he said 'Just Relax!' I pointed out it was hard to relax when he had just threatened to kill me, he laughed and propelled me away on the next wave. Needless to say, it didn't happen for me!

We spent our last day in Peru in Trujillo, the city next to Huanchaco, and were a little sad that we hadn't spent longer there as it was really, really pretty. We grabbed some dinner at a fancy restaurant and started our huge mission to get to Ecuador. Vamos!
Huanchaco
Huanchaco
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Friday, 25 July 2014

It's Tramlines Time!

Every year my lovely city, Sheffield, has a festival called Tramlines. The name comes from the fact that Sheffield is one of the very few cities in England to still have a working tram, I love the fact that it's called Supertram!

It always takes place in Summer and I remember when the festival used to be completely free. Most of the clubs and pubs and public spaces get involved, holding music events for everyone to enjoy. My favourite memory from last time was watching the Everly Pregnant Brothers do their rendition of 'No Oven No Pie' at the Fat Cat, then taking the special event bus back to town which had an acoustic duo playing on the top deck for passengers to enjoy while they travelled.

I've been lucky enough to see dananananaykroyd,  Ash and the Everly Pregnant Brothers before. This year I'm really looking forward to seeing Sister Sledge, Funeral For A Friend and Annie Mac. I also love the spirit of the city when it's filled with people having a really good time.

So here are some photos from the last time I was there, in 2011. Sophie, my friend from uni came up to stay and we had lots of fun. I can't believe how much I've changed since then!

The next time I post the festival will be over and I will be in Norwich. See you then!

Feet
Pavement drink
Better View
On the bus
Tramlines
Tramlines
Tramlines
Tramlines
Tramlines
Tramlines
Tramlines

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Back in England Goals 3/5 and my new obsession

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I finally tackled the mammoth task of clearing out my wardrobe this weekend. It was long over due! I've half heartedly been doing it for a while, throwing out a top here, donating a pair of shoes there, but soon I'm going to have to be sharing a wardrobe with Nick, so it only seemed fair that I reduced the amount of clothes I had. Despite him having only a few pieces of clothing, I still need to give him some wardrobe space!

It was helped by the fact that Katie and Becky have introduced me to a website I haven't tried before, Vinted. On the site you upload the clothes you don't want anymore, and can decide if you want to sell them or swap them for something else another user has. It's a really good place to encourage you to recycle clothes rather than buy brand new things all the time.

There's been a lot of bad press recently around the conditions of the people who make our clothes in other countries. It really has made me try and be a bit more conscious about the quantity of clothes I have and how much I really need. Does anyone else feel the same?

If you're interested in what I have to offer, check out my Vinted profile here!

So there's one more heart achieved on my list, two more to go. 4 days until I leave Sheffield...I wonder if I can achieve the others before I go? I have my doubts!


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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Travel Tuesday: Conquering Mountains in Huaraz

Huaraz
Nick and Whitey not looking impressed when I tell them it's time to go home
 after our scenic slum walk.
We arrived in Huaraz from Lima incredibly early in the morning and I have to say when I first took in the drab cement buildings in the gray, early morning light, I wasn't too impressed. It turned out that the whole town had been flattened by an earthquake in 1970 and so everything has been built since then. There isn't really any old architecture to appreciate, it's all about the surroundings here.

We decided to head straight for Jo's Place, the hostel we were staying in. It's run by an English man and his Peruvian wife, Jo was actually away at the time but his wife was really friendly and welcoming and made us the Full English that we'd eagerly anticipated, despite it being the off season and her not opening the kitchen then. It was funny to see all the familiar sauces on the table after spending so long away from England.

Wanting to see a little more of the town we decided to go for a walk. Nick had taken a bit of a liking to the hostel's dog, Whitey, who moped around waiting for his owner, Jo, to come back, so we took him along. The walk confirmed to us that there wasn't much to see in Huaraz, so as soon as we got back to the hostel, we arranged transportation to the outskirts of the town to do a walk around a mountain laguna. We bought food and drink and started preparing outselves for the hike the next day.

Unfortunately, Nick got really sick in the night and was up  with stomach pains all night, meaning that by 5:30am he only just fell to sleep and both felt pretty awful. It was obvious that he wasn't going to be able to do the hike, so I sat on the road side, waiting for our driver to arrive at 6am and to tell him we had to cancel.

When Nick started to come around a bit later, we took Whitey for another walk. We followed the river out of town towards the snow topped mountains in the distance. We eventually started to walk through the poorer end of town. There we saw women washing their clothes in the river, where further up a man was peeing into it. We saw sheep and pigs grazing on rubbish dumps and ducks waddling around old, dilapidated, basketball courts. It definitely was an eye opener. On the way home we stopped off for a drink at a tiny neighbourhood shop. The lady made a huge fuss of us and when we got talking she started to tell us about how her home was destroyed in the earthquakes and she'd had nothing after that. It was all really sad as the people there seemed to have very little already.

So there was no mountain climbing in Huaraz and no lovely scenic views. But I do feel like we got to see a different side of the town and it was nice to actually get to talk to some of the locals. We were quite happy to leave Huaraz and Nick's illness behind, but I don't think Whitey was happy to see us go!

Not the best chapter of our adventure, but a learning curve non the less.

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Monday, 21 July 2014

Weekend: Sheffield

With my time in Sheffield coming to an end before I feel like it's even started, I've tried to fit lots in this weekend. I am working for the next 4 days, then have Friday off to prepare for the big move down to Norwich next Monday, then starting work at my new job on Tuesday!

It's all go at the moment as Nick has managed to get himself a job as a teacher at a summer school for foreign students. It sounds perfect for him as he is teaching older children, it lasts for 5 weeks, right up until we officially should have moved to Norwich, and hopefully will put a few pennies in his pockets.

My weekend started when I switched off my computer after what felt like forever on Friday evening at 5pm. I headed into town to start browsing for a dress to wear to my old housemate, Harjit's wedding. Sadly I didn't find anything so I decided to leave it for another day and went to meet Louise for a few drinks.

We met at Caffe Leopold on Leopold Street for some sparkly prosecco. I don't really know what's happened since I got home but the world seems prosecco mad at the moment. I'm not going to complain though as the one we had in the bar was incredibly delicious.

Following that we went to the Bamboo Door tiki bar that Fury, James and Sheena introduced me to last time I was out with them and we had a lovely mango cocktail. It was really refreshing and perfect to drink while sitting outside enjoying the evening sun.

We went to our old haunts back when we used to work together and went to Walkabout and the Common Room and finished off our night with a Desperadoes. Louise had to dash off but I had enough time before my last bus to meet the lovely Caroline and Irene for one.
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I collapsed into bed at about 12:30 after a very busy first week working. 4 days left until I leave again!

On Saturday I spent the day sorting out my wardrobe. I gave a whole bundle to charity, some had to be thrown away and the rest I put on a website that I'm going to talk about later in the week!

That evening I went for a meal with my dad, my step-mum, my grandad and my sister to a restaurant just across the road. The food was delicious and I finished all of my lemon merangue pie! Poor Millie has had a bit of a traumatic week after her pug, Patrick, was hit by a car. Luckily he survived with just a few cuts and bruises and hopefully he will be back to his usual mischievous self soon.
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Sunday morning I was up early again to meet my mum for a day trip out to the Derbyshire Dales. It was not too far from where we took Nick, but this time we went to Matlock and Cromford to have a wander around the shops and we spent hours in a little book shop that I'm sure I'll be visiting again as soon as I'm back in Sheffield!
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Sunday evening was spent doing a little more of my British Sign Language Course, cooking a favourite recipe of mine and planning for the busy week ahead!
Fish poe
I hope your weekend was as fun packed as mine.

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Special Edition Laduree Sonny Angel Dolls

laduree sonny angel
Photo from Sonny Angel Doll Website.
Back when I was in Korea I shared my love of Sonny Angel Dolls, the cute naked, angel, mini figures with funny, little head dresses.

Imagine how excited I was when I started to see macaron topped Sonny Angel Dolls all over Instagram. After doing a bit of digging I discovered it was all because the little fellas are turning 10 this year, and to celebrate they have done a collaboration with Laduree, the patisserie. Cakes and little naked dolls rolled into one is like a daydream come true!

They were released on Tuesday. Looks like I'm going to have to take a trip to the nearest Laduree to see if I can buy myself one. Or even better, if anyone fancies sending me a sweet treat that would be even better!

Laduree Sonny Angel 1
Laduree Sonny Angel 2
Photos from Sonny Angel Doll Website.

Laduree sonny angel
Photo from Sonny Angel Doll Malaysia Instagram account

For more information check out the Sonny Angel Doll website!


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